Earlier today, Prince Charles and Camilla, The Duchess of Cornwall, began their royal visit to in Australia, to kick the Commonwealth Games. This is the 16th time that The Prince of Wales has visited Australia, while Camilla has previously visited twice.
In Brisbane, Prince Charles and Camilla were greeted with a ceremonial welcome at Old Government House, organised by the Australian government and the State of Queensland. Among other government officials, the royal couple were welcomed by the Governor-General and his wife, Lady Cosgrove, as well as the Governor and the Premier of Queensland.
The welcome ceremony included a 21-gun salute and also an Inspection of the Royal Guard of Honour by the heir to the throne. Charles and Camilla also signed the house’s visitor book and spoke to those who had gathered in Brisbane’s botanic gardens to catch a glimpse of The Queen’s eldest son and his wife.
The next stop for the couple was Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital, where they had the chance to learn about Juiced TV. This is an entertainment initiative which produces television programmes which are made by the children who are receiving treatment in the hospital. Produced by children for children, the programmes feature the patients, their siblings and other family members. The initiative was created in 2015 and aims to give children who are receiving treatment the opportunity to meet their favourite celebrities and allow them to experience something more exciting than life in a hospital.
During their visit to the Children’s Hospital, the Prince and the Duchess spoke to patients and families who have participated in the Juiced TV scheme. Charles and Camilla were also introduced to 13 year old patient Abi Head and the founder of Juiced TV, Phillippa Russell.
The royal guests watched a dance session and some music therapy, and even participated in some baking! Locals taught them hoe to bake lamingtons.
Charles and Camilla then attended another reception with the Governor-General and Lady Cosgrove, this time at the Sheraton Grand Mirage. This event was held as a precursor to the 2018 Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony.
During the reception, The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall were introduced to other Commonwealth-related guests, including The King of Tonga and Malcolm Turnbull, the Australian Prime Minister. Before heading to the ceremony, Charles and Camilla also had a private meeting with the Governor and his wife.
The couple’s final engagement on the first day of their visit was the Opening Ceremony of the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
The Prince of Wales, representing The Queen, officially opened the Games, reading out a message on his mother’s behalf. The Prince last opened the Games when they were held in Delhi in 2010, and attended the previous Games in Glasgow alongside Camilla and The Queen in 2014.
Prince Charles has been a long-standing supporter of the Commonwealth of Nations; to date, the future King has visited 43 of the 53 Commonwealth nations, and has paid several visits to many of those countries. The Queen’s customary message, read out by her son this evening, was placed in the traditional baton last year. Since then, the baton has travelled from London around the Commonwealth.
Charles and Camilla actually participated in the famous Baton Relay themselves, during their visit to Singapore last year.
In her message, the Sovereign reminded the athletes and other guests of the connection shared by members of the Commonwealth, despite their differing backgrounds and nationalities.
As well as reading The Queen’s message, The Prince of Wales spoke on behalf of himself and his wife: “My wife and I could not be more delighted to be able to join all of you here on the Gold Coast this evening – and the many millions of you who are watching from your homes across the Commonwealth.”
Charles’ full speech can be found here.
For further updates on Charles and Camilla’s visit to the Gold Coast, follow #RoyalVisitAustralia on Twitter and of course, keep checking The Crown Chronicles for the latest news!